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Mercedes join Ferrari in F1 quit threat

Toto Wolff, Mercedes chief

London, November 29: Reigning world champions Mercedes have joined Ferrari in threatening to quit Formula One amid proposed changes by new owners Liberty.

Bernie Ecclestone's successors are seeking to create a more balance competition from 2021 onwards, including new engine regulations and cost reductions, prompting Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne to suggest the Scuderia could take the drastic step of walking away from the sport.

And Mercedes chief Wolff, speaking to Kronen Zeitung, offered a damning assessment of the impact of the new owners.

Asked which of the contributions made by Liberty stood out in 2017, he replied: "Nothing! Doing erratic actions like Michael Buffer in Austin does not make the sport any better," he added, referring to the boxing announcer's involvement at the United States Grand Prix.

It was put to the senior Mercedes man that Liberty and the German team are far apart in their respective priorities for the competition's future.

"Yes," he said.

"Because we do not see any vision. Nobody knows where the journey is going. All we know now is that sales, profits have fallen sharply."

And Wolff readily agreed when the prospect of Mercedes ultimately withdrawing from F1 was raised.

"Such a scenario is quite possible," he said.

"Just like Ferrari. If we do not see what Formula One stands for, then we have to ask ourselves the tricky question: not if, but where we want to operate motorsport at a high level."

Source: OPTA

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Story first published: Wednesday, November 29, 2017, 19:00 [IST]
Other articles published on Nov 29, 2017